The first ever college football playoffs are set. Surrounded by much controversy and some difficult decisions by the playoff committee, Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State will be the four teams battling for this year's national title.
Alabama and Oregon, at numbers one and two, respectively, were easily determined. The Crimson Tide played the toughest schedule out of the contending teams, and their only loss came on the road to a tough opponent in Ole Miss. Oregon’s schedule was just as tough, but their only loss came at home to the Arizona Wildcats.
The tough decisions came from ranking numbers three through six. Four teams -- Florida State, Ohio State, Baylor and TCU -- battled for the last two spots.
The Seminoles finished the season undefeated, but many of their wins were very close and they did not have a big statement win throughout the season. But their 13-0 record and the ACC championship pushed them from number four last week to number three in the final rankings.
Ohio State, Baylor and TCU all had similar resumes and all three believed they belonged in the top four. It seems like the Buckeyes’ extra game in the Big 10 championship game, where they demolished a good Wisconsin team 59-0, gave them the edge over the two teams from the Big 12, which doesn’t have a championship game.
"With the championship game, Ohio State demonstrated that they were a total team," committee chair Jeff Long said. "They did overcome replacing two quarterbacks, and that's a tremendous statement about the quality of their team. With a conference championship in the Big Ten, with a win over the Western Division champion, Wisconsin, it was decisive for Ohio State to move into that fourth spot."
Baylor and TCU ended at numbers five and six, respectively, and are left out of the playoffs due to a weaker schedule. The Bears will play number eight, Michigan State, in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, and the Horned Frogs will battle number nine, Ole Miss, in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.
Alabama and Ohio state face off in the semifinals, which will take place in the All-State Sugar Bowl, and Oregon and Florida State play the other semifinal in the Rose Bowl game presented by Northwestern Mutual; both games will be played New Year’s Day.